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Should You Open a Fitness Studio?

Featured image of "should you open a fitness studio"?: The image is a group of young people meditating in a yoga studio.

When it comes to being a fitness professional, everyone knows you have to be ready to run your own personal training business. Having business skills is just as much a necessary skill to being a successful fitness professional as being able to write good fitness/nutrition programs. The same remains true if you want to open a fitness studio.

Opening a studio gym typically means you have to figure out the financing, location, insurance, workout equipment, your business model, advertising, hiring, taxes, legal aspects, and much more. It’s a pretty hefty task to take upon yourself.

However, with the right research and know-how, you can start and run a successful studio.

First, Why Open a Fitness Studio?

Many people love going to the gym for a variety of reasons. One major reason is the social atmosphere it offers. A lot of people look at the gym as a way to stay in shape while getting to socialize and meet new people.

Most gyms have a community that revolves around the gym which might extend into friendships outside of the gym.

However, a normal commercial gym is rather large. The community of people that you see from commercial gym to commercial gym is usually made up of the workers and a few of the more involved members. A large portion of the gym just goes about their business.

The reason why a studio gym is appealing is because they are typically smaller but offer a closer community setting. Both for the fitness coaches and the gym goers.

From a business standpoint, studio gyms are starting to trend more and more as we head into 2020. More people are looking to join a studio gym that’s geared more towards their interests.

Many fitness professionals across the industry are taking notice to these trends with fitness studios and want to open their own fitness studio.

However, before doing so, you want to make sure you are in the right place to start a fitness studio before you go for it.

Prime Candidates For Opening Fitness Studio’s.

Opening a fitness studio isn’t for everyone. There’s a lot more to manage then a regular personal training business, in-person or online.

Prime candidates for opening a fitness studio should have experience working in fast paced environments and have success while doing so. This means as a personal trainer, having a thriving in-person training business and/or an online fitness business helps.

Having experience in management is an added bonus. Being a manager previously means you have insight into what goes into running the daily operations of a gym.

However, being a personal trainer in the past isn’t a super hard set requirement. The main thing is having a good amount of experience in a fast paced business environment and having a passion for fitness. But, having experience as a trainer will definitely help when it comes to picking and building a business model.

What is Needed to Open a Fitness Studio?

There’s a lot of work that goes into opening a fitness studio. Between doing the research and building your business model, there’s a lot that can get lost in translation between idea and action.

Let’s quickly go over some common considerations for opening fitness studios:

Find Your Target Market

This is the first and one of the most essential steps. Without a target market, your business will lack direction. The target market will help define other steps later on down the road.

Here are some good ideas for studio gym niches:

  1. A hot yoga studio.
  2. A Pilates studio.
  3. Cross-fit studios.
  4. Boxing gyms.
  5. You could even start a parkour studio.

Finding a solid target market can also help with marketing, branding, and connecting with your potential member base.

What are the costs of opening the studio? What are the costs of operations?

The cost of opening your studio gym are going to be heavily dependent on your location and target market. For example, starting a yoga studio will be cheaper then starting a cross-fit studio.

The reason is because cross-fit gyms need more equipment then yoga studio’s. Cross-fit gyms might also need some more heavy duty liability insurance because it’s a little easier to get injured with cross-fit.

Typical costs for starting a studio gym
  1. Renting or purchasing space.
  2. Gym equipment.
  3. Liability insurance.
  4. Paying employees.
  5. Eventually, taxes for your business income and employee taxes.
  6. Licensing and permits.
  7. Software used for scheduling, training, processing payments, and accounting.
Typical costs of running a studio gym.
  1. Paying employees.
  2. General Office Supplies.
  3. Insurance.
  4. Business Software.
  5. Advertising and marketing your studio.

Financing your business

Financing your business can be a tough decision. There are really four options you can consider:

  1. Finance it with a business loan.
  2. Pitch your business to investors.
  3. Finance it yourself.
  4. A combination of the above options.

The best option overall is almost always going to be the option that doesn’t leave you in debt. If you can finance, start, and run your business with no borrowed money, that leaves you in a great spot.

However, as long as you are smart with the loan that you pull out and you are confident in the business you are building, then loans are also a good option.

How much financing is needed to open a studio?

We have discussed this a little bit in earlier sections, but how do you estimate the start up costs?

First you want to start by looking at all of the one off costs of starting a gym plus the recurring cost of running a gym. Then, once you get those figured out, make sure you have some cushion planned in there for expenses you didn’t see coming.

What you don’t want to happen is you pay to get everything opened but don’t have enough money in the first or second month to pay your employees or to pay typical costs of operations.

You should plan to have at least 3-6 months of “runway” money. This means, even without the business making a profit, you should have enough money to pay all the bills.

While costs may differ from business to business, you can sit down and approximate what you’ll need to get going.

Some people put together many different financial resources to finance starting a business. Examples could include saving up to pay some of the start up costs out of pocket and then pulling a loan out to finance the rest.

A pre-launch marketing strategy

While it isn’t completely necessary to have complete pre-launch marketing strategy, it is highly advisable to have one in place.

Not quite sure where to start? Start by creating an Instagram and Facebook page for your studio gym. Document the process of renting the space and decorating it on your social media profiles.

In addition, you can post estimated open dates and even announce a special for the first week of opening.

Get in contact with local newspapers to get an article out about the start date. However, before you get in contact with local news outlets about it, make sure you at least have a solid plan in place with some pretty good estimates about open dates.

A post-launch marketing plan

This one is an absolute must. Simply running social media ads that serve to your local town or city will go a long way.

You can run ads on specials you’re having, what you offer, and anything you think people might find interesting. The main thing with running social media ads is making sure you’re targeting the right people.

Luckily, with Facebook ads, you can easily build audiences that are filled with people who are more likely to take interest in your ads.

Should you open a fitness studio?

We have covered a lot. From the experience needed to open a studio gym to what goes into opening one, by now you should have an idea as to where to start.

If you are looking at all of this and feel overwhelmed just imagining everything that you’d have to do, don’t worry that’s a normal feeling.

The best remedy to feeling overwhelmed is simply putting things into perspective. Sit down and list all of the costs for opening a studio the way you’d want to and draft a plan.

The plan doesn’t have to be much but take into consideration your startup/recurring costs and then draft a business plan to get a better feel for what you’d have to offer to make the business plan profitable.

Often times, your biggest obstacle is yourself. Don’t let feelings of being overwhelmed prevent you from opening a studio gym or even just pursuing other business ventures you’ve always wanted to.

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